PITTSBURGH — Ji Hwan Bae hit a three-run homer for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Pirates a 7-4 win over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.
For Bae, his first career walk-off hit broke a 4-4 tie after David Bednar (1-0) blew his first save of the season in the top of the inning.
Rodolfo Castro began the bottom of the ninth with a single that dropped into right. Two batters later, Andrew McCutchen singled to left, giving the Pirates runners on first and second, setting the stage for Bae.
After Mauricio Dubón reached on an error by the shortstop Castro in the top of the ninth, pinch hitter David Hensley singled to give Houston two on with one out. Chas McCormick doubled home both runners to tie the game 4-4.
Jack Suwinski finally recorded his first home run of the season in the bottom of the second inning. His two-run homer over the seats in right field tied the game at 2-2.
Ji-Man Choi doubled in his first at bat and then later homered for the second time in as many games with a solo shot to right field to give the Pirates (7-4) a one-run lead in the sixth.
Two batters after Choi’s homer, Ke’Bryan Hayes doubled to right-center and stole third base without a throw. He scored on a Canaan Smith-Njigba sacrifice fly, putting the Pirates up 4-2. Hayes had a pair of hits on the night.
After reaching base safely in all three of his plate appearances a night ago, Castro was on base three more times in four trips to the plate on Tuesday with a pair of singles and a hit by pitch.
Outside of a home run allowed in each of the first two innings, Mitch Keller was able to keep a dangerous Houston lineup in check.
Alex Bregman connected on his first home run of the year, a solo shot well over the wall in left field. The Pirates’ right-hander left a sinker in the middle of the plate and Bregman made him pay with a blast which measured 408 feet.
The following inning, Kyle Tucker hit a solo home run of his own to right field to put the Astros up 2-0 over the Pirates. Tucker was on base three times for Houston.
Keller gave the Pirates six innings and held the Astros (5-7) to two runs on six hits, two walks and seven strikeouts. He threw 94 pitches, 64 of them for strikes.
The Pirates will go for their third-straight series win on Wednesday afternoon. It’ll be up to Rich Hill (0-1, 10.00 ERA), who will be the Bucs’ starter. José Urquidy (0-0, 3.86 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston. First pitch: 12:35.